fus·​tian | \ ˈfəs-chən How to pronounce fustian (audio) \

Definition of fustian

1a : a strong cotton and linen fabric
b : a class of cotton fabrics usually having a pile face and twill weave
2 : high-flown or affected writing or speech broadly : anything high-flown or affected in style

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Other Words from fustian

fustian adjective

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Fustian first entered English in the 13th century, by way of Anglo-French, as a term for a kind of fabric. (Its ultimate Latin source is probably the word fustis, meaning "tree trunk.") Several centuries into use as a noun and an attributive noun, fustian spread beyond textiles to describe pretentious writing or speech. Christopher Marlowe was a pioneer in the word's semantic expansion: in his 16th-century play Doctor Faustus, he employs the word in this new way when the student Wagner says, "Let thy left eye be diametarily [sic] fixed upon my right heel, with quasi vestigiis nostris insistere," and the clown replies, "God forgive me, he speaks Dutch fustian." And later, the titular doctor himself is called "Dr. Fustian" repeatedly by a horse dealer—an apt misnomer considering the Doctor's speech habits.

Examples of fustian in a Sentence

a speech awash in old-fashioned fustian and bereft of all substance

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First Known Use of fustian

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for fustian

Middle English, from Anglo-French fustian, fustayn, from Medieval Latin fustaneum, probably from fustis tree trunk, from Latin, stick, cudgel

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The first known use of fustian was in the 13th century

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Cite this Entry

“Fustian.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fustian. Accessed 25 May. 2022.

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Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about fustian


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